A high-concept debut that needs much tighter stitching.


Victorian-esque Project Runway complete with absurd competitions and bonus instalove.

In Britannia Secunda, fashion is everything: The country’s livelihood depends on the farmers who produce the raw materials, the factories that create the fabric, and the designers from the Fashion House. Fashion is also a bone of contention between the crown and the Reformists Party, whose members think it has become too elitist. Country girl Emmy Watkins, whose semidisgraced single mother runs a pub, is a born designer who loves fashion, so when it is announced that the Fashion House Interview will be open to a contestant from a rural area, she is determined to try out. The worldbuilding ranges from sloppy (cashmere from sheep?) to contrived (in a fashion-obsessed kingdom with a steady stream of accomplished designers churned out of the interviews, no other design houses exist, and Emmy is the first person to truly innovate). The girls competing in the interview lack substance (Ky is half Japanese and half white, making her stand out in this very white world; Alice is rich and mean; Kitty is rich and kind; Cordelia is unusual for wearing trousers) while Emmy is pure trope (plucky, innately talented, sharp enough to see that fashion is corrupt) and falls for the first pretty boy she meets. Props for lots of ridiculous fashion that seems insane enough to be couture, but that’s about all that works.

A high-concept debut that needs much tighter stitching. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-285733-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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A cute, feel-good coming-of-age story.


A DNA test reveals that Abby has a sister she never knew about—and they head off to summer camp together to uncover family secrets.

When 16-year-old Abby’s best friend and secret crush, Leo, asks her to do a mail-in DNA test with him, Abby mostly agrees to give him a little push, as he clearly wants to find out more about his birth family. While the results don’t help Leo, they bring a shocking result for Abby: She has a full-blooded sister, 18-year-old Instagram wellness star Savvy, who lives in another Seattle suburb. After meeting and realizing their respective parents used to be friends, the two girls decide to meet again at summer camp. Unfortunately, camp gets off to a rough start; Savvy is a stickler for rules, Abby didn’t read the rules in the first place, and Leo is a camp chef, which only intensifies Abby’s feelings for him. With a summer full of new friends, hijinks, delicious food, and digging up secrets, Abby has to learn to lean in and own up to the complicated parts of life. This is a heartwarming novel of friendship and family, with a little romance. The story and characters have depth and emotion, touching on topics of broken friendships, losing a loved one, deception, social media, and pursuing what you love. Abby, Savvy, and Leo’s adoptive parents are White; Leo is Filipino.

A cute, feel-good coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23730-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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